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Who’s on Social Media?

Knowing your audience is key to being an effective marketer, and this is especially true on social media. For social media marketers, knowing your core users on each social network dictates which platforms to focus on. Social media marketing platform Sprout Social recently released a superb infographic that shows the main channels demographic data.

Overall, the data shows social media to be the medium of choice for women. This is especially true on Pinterest where women made up 42 percent of users, and Snapchat where women represented 70 percent of users.

On other networks, like Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, the numbers were a little more even, but women represented a higher percentage of users. Men use Twitter slightly more than women and Google+ was an anomaly with men making up 74 percent of the user base.

Social media audiences are also relatively young – 18-29 year-olds make up the largest age group on nearly every platform. LinkedIn is the only network where the percentage of 30-49 and 50-64 year old users outnumber their younger counterparts. LinkedIn users also had the highest average income.

Not surprisingly, Snapchat attracts the youngest users, with more than 70 percent under 25. 62 percent of these users also make less than $50,000 annually, perhaps making them a group with less buying power than the core demographic on other social networks.

Here’s the full Sprout Social infographic and demographic breakdown:

Social Media Demographics

 

 

[Source: Sprout Social; AdWeek]

 

Google Plus Cover Image Changes

Google+ Cover Photo Changes (Again)

Google Plus Cover Image ChangesWhen Google changed the Google+ cover image size to a full and enormous 2120 x 1192 pixels, I was at a loss to why. It became too large to fulfil any real purpose and 2/3rds of it was obscured when you landed on a page anyway. So I was pleased to see the changes Google made yesterday to Plussers cover image.

As of yesterday, when someone visits your Google+ profile or page via desktop, they’ll see your entire cover photo across the top rather than just a small section poking down from the top of the page. Importantly for brands, there’s still lots of room for content underneath.

In design terms the cover photos remains at 16×9, albeit downsized (up to 2120px by 1192 pixels), so no action is required unless you want to take this opportunity to update your image or design a marketing message that will now be seen.

The update is live now and ready to check out!

Social Media Facts 2013

Social Media Facts 2013

Looking to sell the case for social media to your boss? The Digital Insights infographic below covers all the latest social Media facts, figures, numbers and statistics of 2013 which can help you sell the case for social media.

Some of the most fascinating facts are mentioned here-

  • 74% of marketers believe Facebook is important for their lead generation strategy.
  • 28% of Retweets on Twitter are due to inclusion of “please RT!”.
  • 40% of marketers use Google+, 70% desire to learn more and 67% plan to increase Google+ activities.
  • 42% update their profile information regularly on LinkedIn.
  • Every second 8000 users like some or other photo on Instagram.
  • Twitter’s fastest growing demographic is 55-64 year olds.
  • 80% of total Pinterest’s pins are re-pins.
  • 4.2 billion people use mobile device to access social media sites.
  • Social media generates almost double the marketing leads of trade show, telemarketing, daily mail, or PPC.

 

 Click on the infographic to enlarge it. 

social-media-facts-2013_525a69cdede3b_w1500

Google+ changes

Google+ adds custom URLs and new photo features

Google+ Introduces Custom URLsThis week Google announced a number of updates and new features for its Google+ platform. We bring you a summary of what you need to know…

Custom URLs

Custom URLs are now rolling out to almost everyone. If you don’t see the option yet on your Google+ profile or Google+ Page, don’t worry: Google says it is expanding availability throughout the week.

For those who don’t know what custom URLs (also called vanity URLs) are, here’s quick example. Currently, your Google+ will be a long, arduous series of numbers, e.g. plus.google.com/u/0/106743928610778916/. When offered a custom URL, you can change it to something that’s easier to share (and remember). Mine, for example, is now google.com/+DanielHoney and the Honey Digital page is google.com/+Honey-Digital.

Google first started testing custom URLs back in the middle of August 2012. About a week later, the company started notifying individuals and brands with verified accounts, but then it largely stopped expanding the feature. Now that’s finally changing.

If your profile meets the following criteria, Google+ will let you claim a custom URL:

  • Has a profile photo, and
  • Has at least 10 followers, and
  • Has an account that’s at least 30 days old.

At the same time, brands and businesses that have a linked website or a verified local business can claim a custom URL for their Google+ page as well. If you fall into either of these categories, you’ll want to read more about link and verification over at the Google+ Help Center.

Once you meet the eligibility criteria and Google prepares your custom URL, you can just visit your Google+ profile or Google+ page to begin the claiming process. Until then, you’ll just have to wait patiently, probably playing with all the other Google+ features that rolled out today.

Photo & Video

Highlight update

Photo highlighting has been improved. If you’re not familiar, this offering will review all your photos and use its algorithm to remove those images that are blurry, duplicates, have bad exposures, look for objects people like, and more.

With the app, by default, Google+ searches your libraries for images. However, now it’s going to parse through photos from within your Circles (as long as you have permission). So if you query “sunset”, it will give you the right set of photos.

Photo enhancements

Photo enhancements are also in the works too, starting with auto-enhance. It has been adjusted to give you a low/high ability and can turn albums on or off. By turning auto-enhance on low or high, it will give you varying intensities, including saturation, vignette, contrast, etc.

Auto-Awesome

With Auto-Awesome, Google says that it helps you better create appealing stories. The company is introducing two new modes, namely Auto-Awesome Action which shows you the motion of an object in a photo, like a skateboarder going around a curve or a basketball going into a hoop.

Auto-Awesome Eraser is another new feature that lets photographers remove obstructions from their photo.

The idea is to help you be better storytellers and to share your memories the way you want, not dictated by others.

Video

Google’s media-enhancing ‘Auto Awesome‘ tool on Google+ now supports video files. With no input whatsoever, the feature will take your recorded clips and create new videos with automated transitions, music and effects.

Called ‘Auto Awesome Movies’, this new piece of technological wizardry will instantly stabilize your shots, choose the best or most important parts of your footage and create an all-new highlight reel that’s been cut in-time with some free music from Google.

As you swipe across the screen on a touchscreen device, Google+ will create different cuts based on different moods, musical genres and editing styles. It’s also possible to jump into a timeline mode and see exactly which changes Google has made – from here, you can make additional edits and effectively fix any editing issues that may have slipped through by mistake.

Check out the promo video below to get a feel for how it all works:

 

[Source: Google; TNW; The Verge; Engadget]

Google Hummingbird

Google Unveils Upgrade to Search Algorithm – ‘Hummingbird’

Google HummingbirdGoogle has unveiled an upgrade to the way it interprets users’ search requests. The new algorithm, codenamed Hummingbird, is the first major upgrade for three years. If you haven’t noticed any recent changes when searching, that’s because Hummingbird has already been in use for about a month, and affects about 90% of Google searches.

At a presentation last Thursday, the search giant was short on specifics but said Hummingbird is especially useful for longer and more complex queries.

Google stressed that a new algorithm is important as users expect more natural and conversational interactions with a search engine – for example, using their voice to speak requests into mobile phones, smart watches and other wearable technology.

Hummingbird is focused more on ranking information based on a more intelligent understanding of search requests, unlike its predecessor, Caffeine, which was targeted at better indexing of websites.

It is more capable of understanding concepts and the relationships between them rather than simply words, which leads to more fluid interactions. In that sense, it is an extension of Google’s “Knowledge Graph” concept introduced last year aimed at making interactions more human.

In one example, shown at the presentation, a Google executive showed off a voice search through her mobile phone, asking for pictures of the Eiffel Tower. After the pictures appeared, she then asked how tall it was. After Google correctly spoke back the correct answer, she then asked “show me pictures of the construction” – at which point a list of images appeared.

This change sees a more fluid approach to search results – a more conversational tone apposed to keywords. It’s still early days to see how this will affect search but initial results show that content filled sites are improving in rankings whereas those who have relied on spammy link building are suffering. We at Honey Digital will continue to monitor the impact of Hummingbird on search and advised our clients appropriately.

Social Media Update

Social Media Activity: GlobalWebIndex Report

GlobalWebIndex’s recent ‘Stream Social Global Report: Q1 2013′ report delivers some excellent insight into the activities of social media users aged 16-64 across 31 different countries around the world. Part of the report details the extent that users follow a group or Like a page created by a brand.

Some of the key results from the report are as follows:

  • Facebook saw a 27.5% increase in active users between Q2 2012 and Q1 2013 across PCs, smartphones and tablets.
  • Brand interactions on Facebook increased by 13% on mobile and 2% on PCs.
  • Twitter grew its active user base by 37%, and brand engagement on the micro-blogging platform increased 16.5% on mobile.
  • Brand interaction on Google+ increased 45.5% on PCs, and activity posts on PCs increased by 83%.
  • Twitter and Google+ both possessed Q1 active engagement rates around 60%.

The GlobalWebIndex report summaries that:

Facebook is now a primary platform for marketers, and Twitter has long used micro-blogging to connect with followers. With Google+ now gaining kudos for its “hangouts,” the platform is quickly building a user base and has opened unique opportunities for brand engagement thanks to its integration with other Google services, especially search.

Social Platform Update from GlobalWebIndex

(Source: GlobalWedIndex.net)

Google adds Communities to Google+

Google CommunitiesOn Thursday Google announced it was introducing Communities to Google+ and this morning we were pleased to see it live and full of activity.

Google describes Communities as a place to  ‘talk about the stuff you’re into with people who love it too’. Any Google+ user can create Communities, which includes features such as public/private membership, discussion categories, the ability to start hangouts and events with members of a Community, and the ability to share something with other Community members any time you hit a +1 button on any site.

Google also recently released stats showing the platform to have surpassed 235 million active users (500 million accounts), finally making it a real contender as a social network. This move to add Communities to the mix shows its commitment to making Google+ a serious rival to Facebook who already have the familiar, and similar, Facebook Groups.

Google+ Communities for businesses

This morning we received a number of enquiries about how businesses can use Communities and if it was worth the investment. We do see a value for businesses in a number of ways:

  • Make a Community private and use it as a staff intranet.
  • Set up a Community in your businesses specialism and promote yourselves as thought leaders in the field.
  • Join other Communities and engage, again showing yourself as thought leaders and experts.
  • Create a customer Community and promote Community only special offers.

You can set up a Community from either a personal page or a business page, or make both owners as we have done with our new Community ‘Plain Social – Social Media for Business’.

Setting a Community up is very simple and Google, as always, give great on screen steps whilst you set one up. It’s really simple so why not go and set one up today – https://plus.google.com/communities

And don’t forget – engage with your audience and Community members! This is what will give you the real value to your new  social media Community and business.

Are Apple scared of Facebook?

An article out today reveals that Apple are scared of something. Microsoft? Don’t be silly. Google? Yeah, you’d think so. But no – Facebook. On first look this comes as a surprise, but when you start thinking about it it’s not as silly as it sounds. Apple have been tech innovators for years and now they’re leaders in the field. You’d think that Google was their main threat now that they have Android. But Facebook makes sense as Apple can’t do social. For some reason it baffles them. Just look at Ping – yeah, remember that? Ping is, in many ways, Apple’s elephant in the room; their toe in the water for social which just didn’t take off. It remains isolated in iTunes and probably will just be the long lost cousin. You know the one – the guy with the banjo, in the woods, who likes to collect rocks.

Google has search, social, and an ever growing platform presence with Android which is now out selling iOS. So what was essentially a search engine is now a bigger, integrated online presence. It’s ticking all the boxes.

Which brings me to Facebook. Facebook is now so ingrained into the internet that it’s a part of online life, and it knows it. Facebook now has its own currency, Facebook Credits, and is starting to integrate music and video sales. Remind you of another Apple ‘i’ product? Rumours suggest that Facebook’s also looking into physical sales through its platform which makes me wonder if Amazon should be worried.

Social is Apple’s achilles heal and Facebook may be smelling blood in the water. Google continues to do its own thing, but also likes to play nicely with some of the others out there especially developers. Facebook’s very similar in that respect but as of yet there are no signs that it’ll move into the hardware wars.

It also surprised me that Apple haven’t released an ‘iSocial’ network. They do have a habit of taking other platforms/products ideas and putting their iMagic on it to make it appear more amazing or completely new (come on, think about it – Facetime = Skype; iOS 5 = Android; Xerox + Windows = Apple OS).

That said, I’ll probably be proved wrong in a couple of years when we see the new Facebook HP Notebook.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before

The Mighty Zuckerberg made an appearance today to announce the new Facebook Skype video chat feature. Possibly the worst kept secret in the digital world, video chat does bring a nice enhancement to the platform. However, haven’t I seen this somewhere else recently….

Google+ launched with the pretty cool ‘Hangouts’. Here you can video chat and, well, hangout with a few of your Google friends. Facebook say they’ve been working with Skype for a few months which makes me wonder if Google knew about this and wanted to get in there first. And in my view, they’ve produced a slicker operation.

Facebook have Group Chat and Video Calling. Yep, sounds like Hangouts. But Facebook also announced they now have 750 million users which, at the moment, Google can only dream of. (Ironically, Zuckerberg is the most popular person on Google+ right now)

At present there’s no mobile version of this new video chat but no doubt this will be integrated at some point (Skype app already has it). It all adds to the ‘sharing’ ethos.

When challenged about the Skype/Microsoft relationship, Zuckerberg commented “we have a really good relationship with Microsoft” (understatement – they’re an investor). But interestingly Skype’s comment was “We’re not part of Microsoft yet. Subject to regulatory approval”. Cold feet?

Today’s announcement is an interesting, if expected, move by Facebook. But are all social networks now just becoming a mirror to each other? It’s looking like that, but I for one don’t want to choose sides….although with 750 million users, Facebook’s gonna win.

 

 

Google+: my first impressions

Never before has an invite been so hotly hunted down since Willy Wonka put golden tickets in his chocolate bars. Today, Google is Willy Wonka and I am Charlie.

As news of Google’s new social platform Google+ filtered out I’ve been chomping at the bit to take a peek at what’s been dubbed ‘the Facebook killer’. One would question whether we need another social platform, but having seen inside Google+  I’d argue we do – because Google have got it right.

Over recent years I’ve felt that although Facebook has become THE social platform, it’s become a little confusing in certain parts and has lost some of its core functionality. Let’s face it, you’re on it because all your friends are. And that’s great – that’s what social is about! But what if someone came along, reduced the clutter, made a cleaner interface, allowed you to segment your connections, even ‘hangout’ with them, chat….just take it all back to basics. That’s what Google have done with Google+.

It’s taken social back to what it should be – circles of friends (hence your groups being called Circles). The added control of being able to decide who your messages/comments/photos are shown to so easily is something that has lacked in Facebook – I don’t want this control hidden deep down in privacy settings.

Design wise it’s great looking. There are no ads on the nav bars, but when this is rolled out further I’m sure Google Adwords will appear somewhere on the page (shame). But I also wonder what else Google have up their sleeve for added functionality (Google Apps/Web Store?).

For now Google have locked down invites due to overwhelming demand, something that happened with Google Wave (yeah, remember that?!). I hope they open it back up soon as part of the fun, and the point, is being social with your friends. I for one don’t want to see this go the way of Wave. Facebook killer? Not yet, but maybe one day…

Have you got hold of a Google+ invite? What are your thoughts so far? Let us know by commenting below.

by Daniel Honey